Ok – I had another post all written up and ready to go for this, my 100th post on my new blog… but I moved it to the next post, and I think you’ll agree that this is a much cooler subject to use for post #100.
This past weekend, I went diving in Amed in north-eastern Bali. I stayed and dived at a fantastic little resort called La Bila Dive Resort. I found them quite by chance to be honest. There are *tons* of dive resorts in the Amed area, but I have little doubt that I picked the right one. One of the first things Juan, the “Base Leader” at the resort, told me was that he wanted me to feel at home – and they did just that! Over the five days and thirteen dives, Juan and Iluh – Juan’s fiance and my fantastic dive guide – showed me the best Amed has to offer underwater and made me feel like I was hanging out with two friends instead of just feeling like a customer. Between eating meals together (when I know they didn’t have to and probably would have preferred to have just gone home and relaxed), swapping dive stories, reviewing photos after the dives, having deeper philosophical discussions, and even sharing music tastes during the drives to and from the dive sites (and noticing that Juan does the same thing I do – skipping songs until he finds the right one!)… like I said, it felt like hanging out with friends, and midway through the second day of diving I knew I’d picked the right place to stay and dive, and I was glad I would have three more days to go.
Anyway, for most of the dives I only had Iluh as my dive guide, but on the last day of diving, Juan’s schedule cleared up enough that he was able to join us for a couple dive. We discussed it in depth trying to figure out the best option for me… in the end we decided to visit a specific site for an incredible drift dive that would also hopefully let me get some photos of a specific macro subject I’ve been wanting to photograph.
Pygmy Seahorses. As the name implies, these guys are small. Tiny. And they are insanely camouflaged.
Even with Iluh pointing them out to me, it was sometimes a challenge to tell exactly what I was looking at. And then add to that how easy it was to lose sight of them as I brought the camera up to my mask (which by the way is much harder to look through than just holding a camera up normally).
If you weren’t able to spot it yet, maybe this next one will be a little easier.
To be entirely honest, I felt an enormous amount of pressure (diving pun intended!) to get some good shots. The amount of effort that went into getting me these photos was pretty impressive. Not only do Juan and Iluh need to know the dive site well to know we would have an almost guaranteed chance of seeing them there, they had to read some pretty wild currents going at different speeds and directions (which was a great rollercoaster ride to be honest) to get us to the right coral, and then while Iluh spotted the minuscule and cryptic seahorses and pointed them out to me, Juan was helping to hold me in place so I could focus (sorry – photographer pun this time) on working with the camera. Heck – Juan even literally gave me some of his air so we could extend our time there.
This next photo is one that I look at and think of how much nicer it would have been if the two seahorses would have been cooperative and turned towards the camera, but this one is a pretty indicative photo of just how they acted… despite how amazing they are, they seem to be pretty camera shy, and quite adept at hiding even in plain sight.
See if you can find them both…
But in the end, I definitely got one I’m happy with.
I know I post these photos here as my own, but to be honest, all of the ones here are just as much theirs. It was truly a team effort to get these photos, and I am very thankful that they helped put me in the spot where I could do the easy part of pushing a button.
Not that I would mind in the least getting to go back and get some dives in with Juan and Iluh and revisiting these amazing tiny critters and trying for something even better.
Then again, I am already thinking about when I can schedule going back to try for some of the other elusive subjects that we weren’t able to find on this last trip. Plus, I would love to hang out with Juan and Iluh some more!
And while I’m giving out thanks, as I said at the beginning of this post, this is post #100 on my new blog, so I want to thank you for stopping by and sharing this with me. And if you’ve been here for all 100 posts, then thank you x 100!!!